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Miltonvale Medical Clinic marks 30th anniversary

(February 26, 2016) -- Anniversaries come and go, but December 11, 2014 marked an important milestone that is well worth noting. Thirty years ago in 1984 the Miltonvale Medical Clinic opened its doors for the first time, and it has been in operation ever since.

According to Dale Bradley, the story of the clinic began with discussions at Chamber of Commerce meetings between 1980-81. At that time, Dale was President of the Citizens State Bank, and serving as President of the Chamber. The group was looking for potential development projects that would benefit the community, and the need for local medical care was mentioned. The idea led to a public survey in the Miltonvale Record, and the results showed overwhelming support for a clinic.

The Miltonvale Lions Club, City of Miltonvale, local businesses, and the community were all supportive of the efforts to establish a medical clinic in Miltonvale. The last physician to live and practice in Miltonvale was Dr. R. C. Kimble. He moved to the community in 1908, and his office was located across the street from the Phelps Furniture store. “Doc” Kimble practiced medicine well into his retirement years and died in 1952 leaving the Miltonvale community without local health care for the next thirty years.

The first step towards opening the clinic was to establish a not-for-profit corporation that could legally receive donations. Attorney Jill A. Casado, Glasco, donated her time to file paper work and write the Articles of Incorporation and the By-laws that would govern the Development Corporation. Part of the plan was to encourage the community to become members of the Development Corporation, and on October 16, 1984, fifty people, many who had pledged at least $50 each, gathered at the City Building. Board Member Fern Turner introduced Dale Bradley who explained the newly formed Development Corporation, and laid out the plans. The officers were Dale Bradley, President; Jack Foster, Secretary; and (Tom Phelps-Vice President and Waine Turner ( all are still board members after 30 yrs.) Lee Roy Parks came on later as a board member.

It is one thing to fill in a survey and say, “Yes I would like a medical clinic,” and quite another to give time and money to see it through to completion, but that is exactly what happened. “The clinic was initially funded by members of the local community. Money was given by individuals who became members of the Development Corporation, and also by the City of Miltonvale, service organizations, churches, and foundations. In addition, the gifting of supplies and services helped to remodel the building including building supplies from the Miltonvale Lumber Company.” explained Dale — who along with his wife Susanne donated not only the building for the clinic.! “Paul Welsh was the lead contractor, and many area citizens gave their free time to help transform the building from what was once a locker plant and then a laundromat, into a medical clinic.”

The first physicians to staff the clinic were from the Concordia Medical Group. Earl Cornell, M.D. and Michael Grant, M.D. alternated staffing the clinic for half a day on Tuesdays. Debbie Coleman, RN was on duty every Tuesday from 9-4, and a volunteer was there on Mondays to schedule appointments. The two doctors were consulted before the clinic was remodeled, and their suggestions were used in the layout of the new clinic. The Concordia Medical Group also helped by giving the new clinic used lobby furniture and exam tables.

Keeping the clinic staffed all these years has fallen on the shoulders of Dale Bradley who acknowledged, “It has been challenging!” Dale served nine years on the Salina Regional Health Foundation, and in fact was the only person outside of the Salina area to have served on their board at that time. “Tom Martin is the CEO of the Salina Regional Health foundation, and has been very supportive of our efforts to have a clinic here in Miltonvale.” said Dale. Working with Com-care out of Salina which is now owned by the Salina Regional Health Center we were able to arrange for Bruce Labes, M.D. and Michelle Labes, ARNP to staff the clinic. “The Labes have been here since 2006, and have served the community the longest.” Then Dale continued, “Dr. Labes and Michelle Labes and their staff deserve our deep appreciation for their willingness to serve our community. Many in the medical profession prefer to work in a larger medical facility where they can have regular hours and weekends off. It is getting more and more difficult to find doctors and nurses to care for rural areas.”

Without the dedication of Rural Doctors from Concordia, Clay Center and now Delphos (Com-Care) there would be no clinic in Miltonvale. We do thank them for their dedication to our rural community.

In 1995, Lee Roy Parks established the Dorothy and Lee Roy Parks Charitable Trust. Lee Roy had been involved in the clinic from the ground up, and generously designated the Miltonvale Development Corporation to receive yearly distributions from the trust. Besides several organizations in the Delphos area, there are three Miltonvale organizations who receive yearly distributions including the Development Corporation, Lions Club and Senior Citizens Club.

The funds received each year from the Parks Charitable Trust have paid the operating expenses of the clinic including insurance, utilities, maintenance, and equipment. “We give Com Care free use of the building which hopefully is an enticement for them to staff the clinic.” Explained Dale. “We own all of the equipment so if there is a staffing change, we still have what is needed for another doctor. We also buy equipment requested by the medical staff, and just recently asked if there was anything they needed.” The Clinic was also underwent a remodeling in the past two years. We purchase all we can from our local businesses when we upgrade or remodel the clinic.

The Development Corporation’s primary purpose is to fund the clinic and maintains enough reserves to cover unexpected expenses. But though the years, the Corporation has made contributions to the summer ball program, school projects, the Miltonvale Manor, MERIT, and the Miltonvale Ambulance Service just to mention a few. The Corporation also supports Homecare/Hospice and Salina Regional Health Foundation bringing home the fact that what goes around often comes around!

Many folks in the Miltonvale community have given substantial time and money to maintain the clinic. Tom Phelps, Waine Turner, Jack Foster, and Dale Bradley are current members of the Board of Directors who were also on the original board. Those are thirty-year commitments!

Dale was worried that he would miss some names, but we decided that we would happily include them next week, so feel free to write or call with additions.

“As President of the Miltonvale Development Corporation, I want to thank all those who donated, saw the future of the clinic, renovated the building, and continued to give donations so the clinic could operate. You have made it possible for the clinic to stay open for the past thirty years. What a vision for the town of Miltonvale!

A very special thank you to the doctors, nurses and other service personnel who have staffed the clinic, and Dr. Labes and Michelle Labes and staff, who continue to serve our community. For a town of 500 we are very fortunate to have a clinic staffed by quality medical personnel.

I want to acknowledge the dedication of Debbie Coleman, RN, who worked at the clinic when it first opened in 1984. I also want to acknowledge the excellent work of JoAnn Hauck and Kay Hallauer, past Secretaries, the current Secretary, Dona Schultz, and Elaine Snavely who keeps the clinic clean for our patients.

My last big thank you is to Lee Roy Parks, a past Board Member and Treasurer, who felt the Clinic would be a great addition to Miltonvale. We continue to receive contributions from the Parks Charitable Trust he set-up for the towns of Delphos and Miltonvale, and we have a deep gratitude for his generosity that has allowed us to keep the Clinic in operation for the past thirty years. Without the total support of this community, the clinic would just have been a dream.

Sincerely,
Dale A. Bradley, President — Miltonvale development Corporation

 

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